20 October, 2020

The Low-Brow High Art

The Low-Brow High Art
Mira Nair's India in Monsoon Wedding turns out to be a Punjabi-posh "farmhouse", populated with a family caught up in the madness of wedding preparations. A pandal rises, relatives pour in from every quarter of the globe and sign of the zodiac, Dad (played by Naseeruddin Shah) has cash-flow problems: in other words, a straightforward Punjabi wedding is being enacted.

But, just a minute—there's also a stirring of darker matters under the orders for Black Label scotch and lethal nuptial fare. Also, virtually on the eve of the mehndi and sangeet, the bride hairs off into a rainstorm with nasty Other Guy. These are only two of no less than five separate stories that Nair and scriptwriter Sabrina Dhawan have woven together without ever confusing us with abundance of character, or diminishing our interest in any one strand. Here, in fact, is one of the most successful features of the film. It is a seamless tapestry, all the more fascinating because, like handicraft, it is authentic.

Authenticity is the prime characteristic of two other elements in the film, the casting and...


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